While in Boston, the kids and I walked the African American Heritage Trail. The Black Heritage Trail is a path in Boston, Massachusetts, winding through the Beacon Hill neighborhood and sites important in American black history.
The Black Heritage Trail is a path in Boston, Massachusetts, winding through the Beacon Hill neighborhood and sites important in American black history. The Black Heritage Trail links more than 15 pre-Civil War structures and historic sites, including the 1806 African Meeting House, the oldest surviving black church in the United States.
In 1783, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to declare slavery illegal — mostly out of gratitude for black participation in the American Revolutionary War. Subsequently, a sizable community of free blacks and escaped slaves developed in Boston, settling on the north face of Beacon Hill, and in the North End. With a strong abolitionist community, Boston was long considered a desirable destination for southern black slaves escaping slavery via the Underground Railroad.
The trail begins at the Abiel Smith School, 46 Joy Street, which houses the Museum of African American History. Interactive exhibits tell the story of Boston’s black history and the American Civil Rights Movement.
At the renowned African Meeting House, 8 Smith Court, displays include speeches from well-informed orators. Built in 1806, the meeting house was the first African-American church in the United States; it became known as the Black Faneuil Hall during the abolitionist movement. Here Frederick Douglass gave many speeches, including his impassioned call for blacks to take up arms against the South in the American Civil War.
The Black Heritage Trail winds around Beacon Hill. It passes significant schools, institutions, and houses, ranging from the small, cream clapboard residences of Smith Court to the imposing Lewis and Harriet Hayden House, 66 Phillips St. The Hayden House was a famed stop on the Underground Railroad and the Haydens sheltered many fugitive slaves from bounty hunters.
The Black Heritage Trail includes:
54th Regiment Memorial
African Meeting House
Abiel Smith School
Charles Street Meeting House
John Coburn House
Lewis and Harriet Hayden House
George Middleton House
Smith Court Residences
John J. Smith House
Later on we headed to the other side of the city a tour of Historic Boston.
Have you ever visited the Black Heritage trail in Boston or Historic Boston? If so let me know in the comments below!